The production version of the Ford Mondeo Vignale has been revealed, with prices starting at £29,045.
The new model will be available as an estate or a saloon and will sit at the very top of the Mondeo range. It is intended to give owners a more luxurious experience in terms of the car and their interaction with Ford.
The Mondeo Vignale is based on the Titanium X trim but adds several premium features on top. This includes a new Active Noise Cancellation system on diesel models. It monitors the noise in the cabin and emits opposing sound waves to cancel out the sound from the engine. It also gets upgraded insulation to reduce road noise in the cabin.
The front seats also come with a massaging function, while the dashboard is covered in soft-touch materials.
The Vignale is made to stand out from the rest of the Mondeo range courtesy of a series of visual upgrades to the exterior. The grille gets a hexagonal-shaped design that is bespoke to the Vignale range, while the lower grille, door mirrors and door claddings all feature chrome details. Other details get a high-gloss finish, while metallic paint comes as standard. The car also comes with 18in alloy wheels as part of the package.
Other technology included as standard includes the latest version of Ford's Sync2 infotainment system, park assist with a perpendicular parking system, a city braking system, adaptive LED headlights and traffic sign recognition. The stereo is an upgraded Sony system, complete with 12 speakers. Other equipment includes front and rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera.
Ford is offering the Vignale range with high-power engines only, in petrol, diesel or hybrid forms. There are two 2.0-litre diesel engines, with 178bhp and 207bhp outputs. The only petrol option is a 237bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost. All of these engines are available on both estate and saloon versions, while only the saloon is available with Ford's 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. Emissions of CO2 are unchanged over the rest of the Mondeo range. The most efficient versions are the hybrid, which emits 99g/km, and the diesel saloon, which produces 117g/km. The highest emissions are on the 2.0-litre petrol estate, which emits 176g/km.
Despite the high level of specification, Ford's European marketing, sales and service chief Roelant de Waard has confirmed that there will be more personalisation opportunities for customers wanting to further customise their Vignale. "We will be showing more personalisation options in May," he said. "They will be mainly cosmetic, both interior and exterior."
This personalisation will be possible in a series of new FordStores, which will be opened in flagship Ford dealerships. There will be 54 of these in the UK by the end of 2015, rising to an ultimate total of 70. Vignale owners will also be able to call on a personal relationship manager and arrange things such as collection and delivery of their car when it needs servicing, and a 24-hour technical support line.
There is also a dedicated mobile phone app, available for Apple and Android users, which allows owners access to driving tips, traffic regulation information and a dealership locator.
De Waard said the existence of the Vignale range has been driven by customer demand, with many Mondeo owners opting for Titanium X trim and spending in excess of £30,000 on their car. Ford is looking to protect the future values of the Vignale brand by not selling any to short-term rental companies or allowing any to be bought on the Motability scheme. Instead, it is aiming to appeal to company car drivers, specifically 'user-choosers' who can select their own car.
The Vignale range is set to grow in the future, with the S-Max next in line to get the high-level treatment later in 2015. It will be revealed in September, before going on sale by the end of 2015. More models are expected to join the range later, but it will only be the larger cars, due to the cost implications of offering such a bespoke service on smaller models. This means that the likes of the Kuga and the Galaxy are likely to get Vignale versions, while the Fiesta and Focus are not.